Glossary: IPAM

What is IP Address Management (IPAM)?

What is IPAM?

IP Address Management (IPAM) is a method for planning, tracking, and managing IP resources. IPAM is integrated with the Domain Name System (DNS) and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). It is commonly referred to in the term DDI, which stands for DNS, DHCP, and IPAM. Together, these three technologies work together to provide core network services and enable communication across all points of the network. 

In an IP network, network administrators must track, monitor, and manage IP (internet protocol) address space. An IPAM tool serves three main purposes:

  • Simplify IP address management
  • Provide insight into the relationship between the devices, users, and IP addresses on the network
  • Provide a rich user experience to network admins responsible for deploying and managing core DNS and DHCP services

With an IPAM tool, network admins can automatically discover unallocated IP addresses. They can also easily provision IP addresses to devices on the network. By integrating with DHCP and DNS servers, IPAM can answer questions such as:

  • What IP addresses are available in the address pool?
  • Which IP addresses are permanent and which are temporary?
  • Which IP addresses are assigned to which devices?
  • What hostnames correlate to which IP addresses?
  • What subnets are being used? How large are they? Who is using them?
  • What are the default routers for each network device?

An IPAM solution also simplifies DNS and DHCP tasks, including:

  • Write a DNS record
  • Identify assignable IP addresses
  • Configure DHCP settings
  • Provision IPv4 addresses
  • Implementing IPv6

However, not all IPAM is as advanced as a tool or solution. Some companies use a spreadsheet to track IP address or simply ask their colleagues what addresses were in use. This approach to IPAM comes with its own challenges:

  • Network conflicts
  • Server outages
  • Network security
  • Compliance issues
  • Lost productivity

The explosion of IP-connected devices (think IoT) and BYOD (bring your own device) the need for IPAM is more apparent. Without a management solution, IP address space is especially hard to administer. In an enterprise setting, the number of network devices are can vary by the hour. Tracking and updating IP address information simply is not feasible for any network team.